Alumni profile: Tamara Murdock

Tamara Murdock (MPhil Geography and the Environment, 2014) is the Deputy CEO of the Aurora Education Foundation in Australia and oversees the delivery of programs that support Indigenous Australians to realise their aspirations to study at leading international universities.

Tamara reflects on her journey to Oxford, her course and career since

Tamara Murdock Portrait Smiling In GardensI completed an undergraduate degree in environmental management and after many years in the field I had many more questions than I did answers. I knew that I needed to undertake further study so that I could deliver better outcomes to the communities I worked with.

I spent almost 12 months trying to find a course that would meet my needs but at no point did I consider studying abroad. The very idea of attending Oxford had never entered my mind as it was not something that had been done previously by anyone in my community. However, I was fortunate to be surrounded by individuals, particularly strong women like my mother, who always challenged the subconscious limitations I placed on myself.

In 2013 I was offered a spot on the Aurora Indigenous International Study Tour to visit UK universities including Oxford. On the tour I had the opportunity to speak with the director of the course I later studied who invited me to attend a tutorial. It was during this time that I realised that I had found what I had been searching for.

I was later accepted to undertake an MPhil in Geography and the Environment as a Charlie Perkins and Chevening Scholar. I subsequently had the opportunity to speak with an Indigenous scholar at GTC and visit the college. I knew right away that GTC was the college for me! Aurora and GTC have had a strong relationship for many years. The growth in Indigenous Australians at Oxford is enabled through the support provided by Aurora and colleges like GTC. We are made to feel valued, and this allows for a strong sense of belonging and community to develop that enables us to really thrive.

In 2016 I graduated and returned to Australia where I spent a few years in management consulting before I joined Aurora. It would seem strange that I never really continued my career in environmental management but my experience did in many ways help clarify my path forward.

My time at Oxford and GTC exposed me to more diversity of thought and knowledge (both aligned and in conflict to my own) than I had previously experienced and the skills I gained can be applied across many sectors. My capacity to give back to my community considerably increased. I now lead the delivery of programs that support Indigenous Australians to realise their potential, pursue tertiary education, and inform policy and systemic change to education systems.

Green Templeton will be hosting the next Aurora Foundation Study Tour in November 2022.